Source: (2005) In, Michael L. Moffitt and Robert C. Bordone, eds., The Handbook of Dispute Resolution. Josey Bass Publishers. PP. 455-470More than fifteen hundred VOM programs in seventeen countries have developed in the past three decades, and more than fifty empirical studies of VOM have been conducte in five different countries. The VOM process can be summarized by four distinct phases: (1) referral and intake; (2) preparation for mediation; (3) mediation, and (4) follow-up. Each raises important issues of policy, practice and implementation, and we survey each in the following sections. We also offer brief summaries of what the research demonstrates regarding participant characteristics, participant satisfaction, restitution, recidivism, cost, and the more recent use of VOM in crimes of severe violence. (excerpt).